Dick Braunschweig

Dick Braunschweig

East Sooke voting for new fire hall

Residents are deciding whether they want and need a new fire hall

East Sooke needs a new fire hall and the people living in the area are being asked to vote in a referendum which will, if successful, see a new $2.12-million fire hall built on a new site. The referendum is currently ongoing and residents have until April 27 to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the proposed bylaws to borrow money for the construction of a new fire hall and increase the annual requisition for service.

The current firehall, on Coppermine Road, is more than a place to store the fire trucks, it is also a community centre where people come to do yoga, practice karate and meet. The needs of the fire department and the community have grown but the building has not.

The East Sooke fire hall was built in 1985 by volunteers, local citizens and contractors, and at the time it housed the lone 1949 International fire truck. It serviced 550 residents. Fast forward to 2013 and the area now has 1,750 residents and three fire trucks. Last year the department responded to 80 calls for fires, traffic accidents and medical aid.

Dick Braunschweig, chairperson of the East Sooke Fire and Emergency Response Service Commission, is advocating for a new fire hall.

“The best time to get a hall is now, the (interest) rates are low,” he said.

Braunschweig said the fire department services an area stretching from Silver Spray to Mt. Matheson and every place in-between.

“We have to be responsible to both of them in an expedient manner.”

There are approximately 30 volunteer firefighters in the East Sooke fire department with a paid fire chief, deputy chief and captain.

“They are definitely dedicated people who care about their community,” said Braunschweig, in regard to the volunteers, “wish we had more of them.”

He said the recent fire at the home of former CRD regional director Brian Henson, pointed out the lack of firefighters during daylight hours. They had under 10 from their own community, but were aided by firefighters from Sooke.

“We can’t continue to provide service to East Sooke if they don’t give us the tools to provide it. We’re asking for a vote of confidence for a new hall. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do (meaning raising taxes)… a new hall happens to be one of them.”

Studies have been done and it was learned that the current hall would fall down in the event of a sizeable earthquake, rendering the fire department useless. It cannot function as a post-disaster facility. The hall can only accommodate three fire trucks, not the four recommended by the Provincial Fire Commissioner’s Office. In 2012 an inspector for the Fire Insurance Underwriters toured the existing hall and voiced strong concerns over non-compliance with recommendations made in the past.

The new location for a fire hall, if approved by referendum, is past Ragland Place, about one km. from the current site.

Juan de Fuca Regional Director Mike Hicks said the cost of a new fire hall for homeowners would be about $50 per $1,000 assessed value (depending on the interest rate).

“This is the perfect time for East Sooke residents to build a new fire hall. Interest rates will never be lower and construction costs will never be more competitive. The average house house increase in taxes of $250 will still leave East Sooke residents with lower combined taxes than many communities in the CRD and Vancouver Island.

“East Sooke has been working on this for years and I really hope they will take the leap.”

Voting takes place in the downstairs hall of the East Sooke fire hall between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

(Black Press Media file photo)
Trees Cannabis to reignite downtown Victoria location as licensed store

The dispensary will reopen its 230 Cook St. location on Saturday

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

The BC SPCA is offering many chances for school-aged kids to learn about animal welfare and other animal topics. Pictured here is Keith, a three-month-old kitten seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
From pets to wildlife, BC SPCA offers animal education programs geared to youth

BC SPCA offering virtual spring break camps, workshops and school presentations

Migrant farm workers transplant jalapeno sprouts from trucks into the tilted soil at a farm. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times)
‘They’re afraid’: Coalition sounds alarm over COVID vaccines for B.C.’s migrant workers

Though health ministry says anyone can get vaccinated, critics say barriers are keeping migrants from their dose

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
Island-raised musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah closes out the movie

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing escalates to stabbing in Nanaimo

Victim, struck with coffee cup and then stabbed, suffers minor injuries; suspect arrested

A battery electric-hybrid ferry, pictured here, is expected to make its way to Vancouver Island in late 2021, says B.C. Ferries. (Submitted photo)
Hybrid ferry for Gabriola-Nanaimo route launches in shipyard in Europe

Two hybrid vessels to replace MV Quinsam by early 2022, says B.C. Ferries

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Most Read